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Policing the Home Front: From Vigilance to Vigilantism

Policing the Home Front: From Vigilance to Vigilantism

Chapter:
(p.117) 4 Policing the Home Front: From Vigilance to Vigilantism
Source:
Uncle Sam Wants You
Author(s):
Christopher Capozzola (Contributor Webpage)
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335491.003.0005

This chapter focuses on mob violence and vigilantism in wartime America. It shows that Americans who engaged in extralegal actions to support the war effort insisted that they were exemplars of vigilant citizenship. Their victims, however, denounced them as lawless vigilantes unworthy of the nation's honor. The wartime and postwar concern with mob violence led many to ignore legal and nonviolent forms of state and private coercion that arose alongside, and outlasted, crowd actions. The distinction obscured the ways that Americans wove coercion into the fabric of their political culture during this period.

Keywords:   mob violence, vigilantes, World War I, war effort, coercion

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